Elegance? Blooming ‘ell darlin’. Who’s got time for bloody elegance these days?
Surely that died along with debutantes and cigarette holders?
Ah, but elegance has two meanings……
The first is to describe a person who is graceful and stylish in appearance. No article about this type of elegance is complete without a picture of “Our Aud”!
There’s no denying she is elegance personified. But she’s hardly your run-of-the-mill girl about town.
Normal life involves hurtling around, skipping meals, multi-tasking like crazy. Nobody’s got the time, money or patience to swan around looking like Audrey Hepburn? And what place does elegance have in our world of strong, feisty women? Not much if you look at this chart which records the incidence of the word in the media.
However elegance can also mean “simple, well-constructed, pleasingly ingenious”.
That’s the elegance I’d love to apply to life. Keep things simple and focus on meaningful little things which, when applied consistently, add up to a lifestyle others admire.
I’ve been thinking about how I can bring a little elegance into my life and boiled it down to these are the top ten requirements. If, everyday, I did just these simple things, my life would flow like a cool mountain stream. I would float three inches of the ground and create serenity wherever I go.
- Plan your day. Before you go to sleep at night make your schedule for the next day. And decide what to wear that will take you from one appointment to another. Make a note of any extras to take – a different pair of shoes, top-up makeup, a scarf or jacket to smarten up for the evening.
- Start your day with mental poise. It’s so easy to leap out of bed and throw yourself into the day while you’re still half asleep. Take a few minutes to get your brain and body composed before opening the bedroom door. Better still get yourself a “miracle morning” routine – you know it makes sense. Until then just a few deep breaths (and maybe a cuppa in bed) creates the equilibrium to face the day.
- Allow yourself time to get ready. Leaving the house late, with half-done makeup, forgetting most of the things you meant to take, phone not charged, – an absolute nightmare. Another note to self – put travel time into your diary and don’t assume you are superhuman and can be teleported from one place to another.
- Dress everyday as if you will meet the person of your dreams. That doesn’t mean you need to dress up – just ensure you’ll never feel embarrassed when that tall, dark stranger smiles at you.
- Choose quality over quantity. Food, wine, clothes, travel – whatever you love, enjoy the best you can afford. Why have five mediocre, just-like-everyone-else t-shirts from M&S when you can one, gorgeous designer top that nobody else in your neighbourhood has ever seen. Eat food that nourishes and nurtures your body. Junk food has no place in an elegant life. (Note: Chip butties are not junk food!)
- Be kind – to yourself and others. Kindness is elegance. It’s so easy to be sneery and cynical. It’s more challenging to be kind. An ex-boss told me that a good leader was one who spent their time finding reasons to praise others. It’s a good outlook on life generally.
- Be polite. Learn from the Italians – they say “good morning” every time they enter a shop. – Ok maybe not in Tesco but you get the idea. ALWAYS remember your “please” and “thank-you”.
- Be discrete – nobody needs to know everything about you. A few secrets, a little wink, a suggestion of hidden depth is très elegante. And if you have no secrets, invent a few. Just don’t tell us.
- Watch the news. Read quality newspapers but don’t be snobbish about cultural trends. Celebrity gossip might not be your thing but sometimes knowing the latest breaking story is what you need to open up a conversation with the coolest person at the party.
- Smile – you’ll look like you’re in control even if your life is all over the place. A warm, genuine smile will open doors, encourage others to offer help, give people confidence that you know what you’re doing. We all suffer ups and downs but the person who always has a ready smile is the one we want to be with.
And that’s it. Easy eh? No, of course it’s not easy. But each tip is a behaviour I try to adopt little by little, day by day until one day it becomes a habit. And there’s only ten so I reckon it can easily be achieved in a lifetime or two!!